Monday, September 1, 2014

I Reads You Review: BATMAN #33


WRITER: Scott Snyder
PENCILS: Greg Capullo
INKS: Danny Miki
COLORS: FCO Plascencia
LETTERS: Dezi Sienty
COVER: Greg Capullo and Danny Miki with FCO Plascencia
VARIANT COVERS: Paolo Rivera; Bryan Hitch with Alex Sinclair
48pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (September 2014)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

Batman created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger

I finally got around to reading Batman #33, which contains the final chapter of the Batman event story, “Zero Year.”  Written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo, this 12-issue “graphic novel” only ran through the ongoing Batman title, beginning with Batman #21.  [Batman #28 was a preview of the current weekly Batman comic book, Batman Eternal.]

I seem to remember it being announced as a ten-issue event, and that would have been about right... at least for me.  After reading Batman #31, I thought that issue needed to end.  Yeah, “Zero Year” was too long.  I also think that “Zero Year” is really The New 52 take on the Frank Miller-David Mazzuchelli classic, “Batman: Year One,” which was originally published in Batman (1940) #404 to #407.

In “Zero Year,” the Riddler (Edward Nygma) successfully launches a massive and complicated plot that leaves Gotham City without some utilities (including power).  Gotham is essentially in a blackout and is closed from the rest of the world.  It becomes a dead city, as if it were plunged into some kind of post-apocalyptic future, where the infrastructure decays and plants and foliage take over.

Batman #33 finds Batman in the clutches of the Riddler.  He must battle the villain in a game of riddles to save Gotham by keeping a series of weather balloons filled with a dangerous chemical agent (basically a weapon of mass destruction) from being activated.  At the same time, military jets make a final run to bomb Gotham.  Batman does not battle alone to save his city, but policeman Jim Gordon and Wayne Enterprises Industries employee, Lucius Fox, may not be able to help Batman... or even save the city.

Although I found “Zero Year” to be too long, I did think that individual issues within the event were quite good (such as #31).  I liked that Scott Snyder invested a considerable amount of the narrative delving in the personalities, quirks, motivations, etc. of not only Batman, but also of his supporting cast.  Their is a deeply emotional component to Bruce Wayne's relationship with his butler/partner, Alfred Pennyworth, and Snyder depicts this “union” as an emotional landscape fraught with landmines, apt to explode into shouting matches.  Like our real world, loved ones can use words to hurt, and I think Snyder gives Bruce and Alfred's relationship as much worth as that between Batman and Alfred.

“Zero Year” is also a star turn for the art team of penciller Greg Capullo and inker Danny Miki.  Since he starting drawing Batman with the birth of The New 52 back in 2011, Capullo has fully emerged from the mystery world and curious comics ghetto of Todd McFarlane, where Capullo toiled for years on McFarlane's Spawn comic book.  Capullo's Batman compositions have been stylishly quirky and oddly visually appealing.  Miki's intricate inking seems to precisely trace the pencils, but always improves the art.  With Miki, Capullo creates comic book art that seems like a modern take on the primordial graphics of early Batman comic books.

I like “Zero Year” most of all because of the art.  I am also curious to see where Snyder takes the ongoing Batman series post-event.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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